A story about the rape of an Afghan woman prompts Tom Matlack to ask more questions about the nature of goodness.
On the front page of the New York Times this morning I read about the plight of a woman who had been imprisoned for adultery after being raped. Her case had become a national news item after it was made part of a documentary commissioned and then blocked by the European Union. It seemed that the grassroots movement to win justice had prevailed, only to find out that the terms of release were indeed barbaric.
“When the Afghan government announced Thursday that it would pardon a woman who had been imprisoned for adultery after she reported that she had been raped, the decision seemed a clear victory for the many women here whose lives have been ground down by the Afghan justice system.
But when the announcement also made it clear that there was an expectation that the woman, Gulnaz, would agree to marry the man who raped her, the moment instead revealed the ways in which even efforts guided by the best intentions to redress violence against women here run up against the limits of change in a society where cultural practices are so powerful that few can resist them.”
The story stirred more questions than answers for me:
What did we spend a trillion dollars on in Afghanistan if this treatment of women still goes on?
Do we as Americans have the right to judge another completely different culture when it comes to the treatment of women?
Why did the documentary film get black-balled instead of used as way to win the freedom this innocent woman?
Does the treatment of women as property in Afghanistan in any way provide a mirror for lingering attitudes here in American?
As a guy who likes to think about manhood and goodness what can I possibly make of this story?
photo: isafmedia / flickr